Soldier Pleas For Pup to Leave Iraq

RatchetarmypupFive months ago, Sgt. Gwen Beberg and a fellow soldier saved a little black and white puppy from a pile of burning trash in Baghdad. Soon, Beberg will return home to Minnesota and she requested that her beloved dog, Ratchet, return with her. The Army said no, according to Defense Department rules. Worried that Ratchet would not survive the streets of Iraq, or worse yet be decreed a "nuisance" by locals and killed, Beberg's supporters started an online petition urging the Army to reconsider. The petition has already garnered more than 12,000 signatures. Donations to help Ratchet and other Iraqi pups return home with their U.S. soldiers are gratefully accepted at Operation Baghdad Pups.

Something to keep in mind before you open your wallet: Terri Crisp serves as program coordinator for Operation Baghdad Pups. If you refer back to my post, "Noah's Wish Settles Katrina Allegations," from August 10, 2007, the Attorney General of California investigated Crisp's former rescue group, Noah’s Wish, for its alleged misallotment of Katrina funds. As part of a settlement that followed, Crisp agreed that she would not "serve as an officer, director or trustee, or in any position having the duties or responsibilities of an officer, director, or trustee, with any nonprofit organization for a period of five (5) years from the execution of this Settlement Agreement.” Granted, the title of program coordinator does not appear to break the agreement but I'm wary that she is involved with a rescue group again so quickly after the Katrina investigation.

Julia Kamysz Lane

October 14, 2008 in Current Affairs, Donations , Health, Humane, Legislation, media, Travel, Volunteer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Compassionate Development

The Walters Group of Barnegat, New Jersey, recently built a $1 million facility to serve the animals of Ocean County Animal Shelter. The developer donated the cost of materials and construction in exchange for the opportunity to redevelop the land where the old shelter existed.

Improvements include 5,000 square feet of space, air conditioning, quarantine areas, new cages, indoor-outdoor runs, surgical facilities and a ventilation system with filtration that will help prevent the spread of airborne diseases. The cats and dogs in their care will be far more comfortable, which lowers their stress levels and improves their chance at adoption. "We also hope to encourage more traffic from potential adopters,” says Dr. Ella Boyd, Public Health Coordinator for the Ocean County Health Department, which oversees the shelter.

The shelter is open seven days a week thanks to volunteers and dedicated staff such as employee Kristen Schools pictured above with Kibbles (who was recently adopted!). To see dogs and cats available for adoption, click here. The adoption fee includes a vet exam, vaccinations, deworming and spay/neuter. Volunteers are always welcome to help with adoptions, donations and other projects.

For more info, please call (732) 657-8086 or email [email protected].

Julia Kamysz Lane

August 28, 2008 in Current Affairs, Donations , Humane, Volunteer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Commercial Breeder Closes Doors, Gives Key to Shelter

Commercial breeder Wallace Havens, who owns Puppy Haven Kennel, one of the nation's largest dog-breeding kennels, and the Wisconsin Humane Society have agreed to, surprisingly ... agree. Now retired, Havens has closed his breeding business and allowed the WHS to assume his business assets. Most dog lovers wouldn't consider dogs to be "business assets," but the deal includes his handing over more than 1,100 dogs to the WHS for spay/neuter and adoption.

That's right, more than 1,100 dogs. All of them have lived at the kennel their entire lives and have never been socialized or lived with people. The WHS has an extraordinary task before them. More importantly, this single-handedly is an impressive feat in the fight against puppy mills. Havens said he sold about 3,000 dogs a year. He was in business for 40 years. Do the math and the number of dogs he created (don't forget the intact dogs he sold that were purposely or accidentally bred) is astronomical.

According to the WHS press release, Margaret Stratton, president of the board of the Wisconsin Humane Society said, “Assuming the assets of this facility will allow us to provide wonderful homes for more than a thousand dogs. These dogs will soon enjoy the love and companionship of people who will treat them as members of their families. To our knowledge, this groundbreaking action is unique in the humane movement. This is consistent with the Wisconsin Humane Society’s mission to build a community where people value animals and treat them with respect and kindness. We are always working to educate people interested in obtaining a dog that they must consider the physical, social and emotional needs of the dog and find out as much as they can about the dog’s background.”

If you'd like to donate needed items or money to help the Havens dogs, please go to Wisconsin Humane Society and click on "Wish List." Or you can call (414) 431-6104 for more info.

Julia Kamysz Lane

July 21, 2008 in Current Affairs, Donations , Health, Humane, Legislation, Volunteer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pets Seek Shelter From Floods

When folks in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and other river communities near the Mississippi evacuated in anticipation of flooding, many of them didn't get a chance to retrieve their pets. Or if they did, they couldn't find a safe haven that would accept them. The New York Times reports on animal flood victims, the good people who are volunteering their time, energy and money to temporarily shelter them and hopefully, reunite them with their families.

As someone who experienced Hurricane Katrina firsthand, I'm heartened to know that authorities now recognize the importance of pets in people's lives. However, awareness doesn't necessarily lead to action; people should not have to resort to living in a car with their dogs because there are no pet-friendly, temporary housing options.

To ensure that your pets will be safe in case of an emergency, create a disaster plan now. Make a list of items you would need to bring, such as food, bowls, medicine, collar, leash, etc. Contact out-of-town family and friends to ask if you and your pets could stay with them in case of an emergency.

Donations for area flood victims are welcome through the HSUS, Cedar Valley Humane Society,Cedar Rapids Animal Shelter, Last Hope Animal Rescue and Companion Animal Network.

Julia Kamysz Lane

July 1, 2008 in Current Affairs, Donations , Food, Humane, Legislation, Volunteer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dogs Comfort Homeless Mom

ArtsleepingcnnI hope the jerks who abandon their dogs with the lame excuse of "we're moving" read about 67-year-old Barbara Harvey and her Goldens. Despite being homeless and living in her car, she is absolutely devoted to her dogs. I think they will inspire her to do whatever it takes to find housing again.

Julia Kamysz Lane

May 21, 2008 in Current Affairs, Donations , Health, Humane, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Saving Sabrina


I recently received an update on Sabrina, a sickly stray found wandering the streets of my former home of New Orleans. Sabrina had been suffering from an advanced stage of mange, which left open wounds on her furless skin. What's worse, some idiot had misguidedly poured diesel fuel all over her body to "cure" the mange.

Thankfully, she was rescued by Kim Johnson, a volunteer with Animal Rescue New Orleans, and Feral Cat Consortium, which sponsored Sabrina's vet care until funds could be raised. Kim's networking efforts brought in donations big and small to cover Sabrina's entire $1,300 medical bill. If you look at the before and after photos posted here, it's hard to believe it's the same dog.

In her email update on Sabrina, Kim wrote:

We don't need any more donations for Sabrina, but if you're feeling a bit generous, our animal rescue work continues. I am still working on trapping one dog with an embedded collar and open neck wound, and another dog with what appears to be an older broken leg... Those will both need medical care when I get them. ... [for] a tax deductible option, I work closely with Feral Cat Consortium. They help dogs too. They fronted Sabrina's vet bills until donations came in and they are a 501(c)3 corp. Their mailing address is Feral Cat Consortium, 4 Summer Haven Ct., Madisonville, LA 70447.
Please support any of the local animal rescue groups, and there are many good ones to choose from. ... We can't do it without everyone's help, and we appreciate support of any kind. But most importantly, the animals we help are living proof that the support network works. So thank you, to everyone who does their part, no matter how big or how small, for the animals.

I think Kim's last sentence -- and the "after" photo of Sabrina -- says it all. When people pull together, animals get a second chance.

Julia Kamysz Lane

April 11, 2008 in Current Affairs, Donations , Health, Humane, Social/fundraiser, Volunteer | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Struggling Shelter Flooded; Situation Desperate


Last November, Franklin County Animal Control in Benton, Illinois (southeast of St. Louis, MO), burned to the ground, resulting in the tragic death of more than 50 animals. The dedicated shelter staff and volunteers have made do with limited resources ever since. Rather than turn animals away, cats and kittens found refuge in a storage shed and dogs and puppies survived one of the coldest winters on record in outdoor kennels pulled from the ashes. Donations are desperately needed to rebuild, but the shelter is located in a rural area of southern Illinois where public and private funds are limited.

To make matters worse, the shelter is now struggling to stay afloat, literally, after days of rain caused flooding. In the words of the shelter director, "PLEASE PLEASE BEG PEOPLE TO HELP US. We've ... been out in the rain for the last two days getting soaked trying to get tarps back up & help all these animals, but the situation is hopeless."

Foster homes are needed most, according to Michelle Parson, President & Dog Program Director of A Caring Place Humane Society in nearby Darien, IL. If you can help, please contact Michelle at (630) 271-9002 or [email protected].

Other area shelters are also suffering due to flood waters. The photo above is from the Piedmont Animal Control Shelter, where eight dogs drowned. You can read more here.

Julia Kamysz Lane

March 20, 2008 in Current Affairs, Donations , Food, Health, Humane, media, Social/fundraiser, Volunteer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sponsor A Dog, Save A Cheetah

Dogs03In the south African country of Namibia, farmers have been caught between cheetah conservationists and and keeping their livestock safe from the spotted predator. So the non-profit organization The Cheetah Conservation Fund initiated a win-win solution. The Livestock Guarding Dog Program provides the farmer with an Anatolian Shepherd puppy who is raised with the livestock and will defend them as an adult. The large, barking dogs deter cheetahs from preying on domestic animals and farmers no longer feel the need to shoot the big cats to protect the herd. You can learn more by clicking on Adopt an Anatolian.

Julia Kamysz Lane

March 4, 2008 in Cool stuff, Current Affairs, Donations , Health, Humane, Legislation, Science, Volunteer | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

New hope for shelter dogs

Ever wonder what you'd do with $3 million? Well, The Stanton Foundation has given that sum to the Animal Rescue League of Boston to fund a Center for Shelter Dogs -- with the exclusive goal of improving the welfare and placement odds for dogs in humane societies, animal control shelters and rescue groups. Among some of the goals of the new center will be developing a better awareness of the shelter environment and the disruptive effect of the stress of homelessness and rehoming on dog behavior; improving methods of evaluating and mitigating stress in the shelter environment; and improving strategies for matching dogs with prospective adopters. What a great idea!

Lisa Wogan

February 27, 2008 in Current Affairs, Dogs and science, Donations , Humane | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Georgia (Dogs) On My Mind

Bark subscriber Jayne Glaser wrote to us with a special plea. She serves on the Board of Directors for Saving Georgia Dogs, Inc., a licensed 501(c)(3) animal rescue charity. “Our goal is to save dogs that are in imminent danger of being killed in animal shelters in rural Georgia,” writes Glaser, “many of whom would face death in the terrifying and inhumane gas chamber.” In addition to rescuing shelter dogs, the grass-roots group plans to open a spay/neuter clinic, create a heartworm treatment/prevention fund, offer humane education in local schools, and help women who stay in abusive domestic situations out of fear over what would happen to their pets.

Now Saving Georgia Dogs needs your help. The charity is participating in a contest sponsored by Parade Magazine and actor Kevin Bacon’s Six Degrees Foundation. The winner receives a $50,000 matching grant to help achieve its goals. To learn how your donation -- no matter its size -- can make a difference, please go to Saving Georgia Dogs, Inc. The contest ends January 31st, so hurry!

Julia Kamysz Lane

January 24, 2008 in Current Affairs, Donations , Health, Humane, Legislation, Social/fundraiser, Volunteer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack